Why We’re So Materialistic – Even Though We Know It’s Dumb

Flickr/Leo Reynolds

Flickr/Leo Reynolds

I recently came across a photographic essay that showed the bedrooms of dozens of children around the world. It’s beautiful and interesting, but what stands out the most is how much stuffsome of these kids have — closets bursting with toys and other possessions, while others have so little — a straw mat, a cup, a threadbare shirt.

Of course, my instinct is to feel sorry for the little girl with only one doll, or the little boy who sleeps on a wooden pallet and proudly displays a few tattered books. Then again, that might just be materialism talking. After all, the photographs reveal nothing else about these children; whether they get enough food to eat, a safe, warm place to live, and parents who take good care of them. It’s just so easy to assume that they are disadvantaged because they don’t have a television and a mountain of toys.

The truth is that most us (myself included) have way more than what’s required to meet our basic needs, more than is required to make our lives more convenient and comfortable, and even more than what we need to keep us happy. Check out a few reasons why in my new post on WiseBread.


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